Introduction to Ames, Iowa
Nestled snugly between the Skunk River and Squaw Creek in the heart of the Midwest is the Iowa city of Ames. Established in 1864 as a railroad town, Ames was named after U.S. congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, a promoter and champion of the transcontinental railroad system. Centrally located within the state, Ames is part of Story County and is situated 35 miles north of the state capital of Des Moines. Principal highways servicing the city are Interstate 35 and U.S. Routes 30 and 69.
Ames is home to Iowa State University, which was founded in 1858 as a land-grant agricultural college, became a state college in 1898, and achieved university status in 1959. Noted as a leader in veterinary research, the city is also home to the U.S Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center. Although the largest employers in Ames today are state and federal institutions, the city has a strong industrial base with several world-class companies including 3M, Sauer-Danfoss (hydraulics), Barilla (pasta), and Ball Plastics Corporation.
Ames Points of Interest
Combining a charming small town atmosphere with the amenities of a big city, Ames offers a diverse variety of recreational options, family-oriented events, cultural sites and much more. Among the more popular attractions in and near the city are the following:
- Brunnier Art Museum: Located at Iowa State University, this is the state's only accredited museum. It features a decorative arts collection, a store, and a performing arts and conference complex.
- Farm House Museum: Located on the campus of Iowa State University, this National Historic Landmark is a fully restored home reflecting late 19th/early 20th century life.
- Art on Campus Collection: Also on the IU campus.
- Reiman Gardens: A 14-acre garden with educational displays, a live indoor butterfly exhibit, gift shop and cafe.
- Ames Community Theater: Offers a variety of live theatrical presentations and educational opportunities.
- Veenker Memorial Golf Course: A championship public facility providing 18 holes of golf and a full service driving range.
- Bandshell Park Municipal Concert Series: Held during the months of June and July.
- Hoggatt School Historic Site: A restored one-room schoolhouse.
- Octagon Center for the Arts
- Homewood Golf Course
- Iowa State University Memorial Union
- Prairie Moon Winery & Vineyards
- Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad (Boone)
- Iowa Arboretum (Madrid)
- Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace (Boone)
- Story City Antique Carousel (Story City)
Sports in Ames are embodied by the Iowa State Cyclones, the athletic teams of Iowa State University. The Cyclones compete in the Big 12 Conference, fielding 16 NCAA Division I teams in 11 different sports including football and basketball. The football Cyclones have participated in several post-season Bowl games.
The Iowa state capital of Des Moines, only about a half-hour away, is home to a variety of professional sports. Minor League Baseball action can be found at Principal Park, where the Iowa Cubs (a Class-AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs) play their games. The Cubs are members of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). Des Moines is also home to hockey's Iowa Stars, who compete in the American Hockey League (AHL). The Stars' affiliation is shared between the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers. Another hockey team, the Des Moines Buccaneers, plays in neighboring Urbandale as a member of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Soccer fans can enjoy the Des Moines Menace, a team in the United Soccer League's Premier Development League (PDL).